What types of roles do women typically go for within STEM? Should this change?

In a report published by Milkround in partnership with SMRS (Opportunities for Women in STEM Careers, April 2016) we found that science was the most popular degree area with 54% of female STEM respondents studying a science-related degree. Technology was least popular at 9 per cent.

There appears to be quite a large discrepancy between the most popular subject and the least popular. Psychology and biology is more popular with women than, say, computer science or IT. Whether there ‘should be a change’ is difficult to say - however there should be more insight into why women are seemingly being put off technology-based careers. Are women being encouraged more towards traditional subjects like biology and psychology?

How can we inspire younger girls into STEM?

By including and encouraging them from the very start. Many classrooms retain an air of ‘boys are good at maths; girls are good at humanities’ which can be detrimental if girls are faced with it from an early age. Furthermore, fewer female STEM students recall interaction with employers at careers events or during school talks and workshops, indicating that employers themselves may be focusing more on male potential employees than their female counterparts.

At the moment a STEM career is viewed as one of the most difficult jobs you can have. By normalising these industries and showing true and clear paths into a STEM career, younger girls will be more likely to see it as an attainable goal rather than something reserved only for the cleverest or, indeed, men.

What skillset can women bring into STEM?

Exactly the same skillset men can bring - that is the whole point. If men and women receive the same amount of encouragement from the beginning and go on to receive the same education, why would they not be able to offer the same skills and experience? What women in STEM will bring with them is a more diverse and wholesome industry where everyone is represented fairly.

Women typically communicate in a slightly different way than men, which has been named as one of the reasons why they see STEM as a somewhat hostile environment. If more women start to take up space in STEM odds are the ways of communication will change, paving the way for a more equal and pleasant workplace.